Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Belfast via the US to Enniskillen

Yes, it does sound like a strange itinerary and only one an Irishman could think up but this morning we leave Belfast - follow the signs for the MI and then the M4 to Omagh and later to Enniskillen. The total journey takes us right across Northern ireland from East to West beneath Lough Neath and this trip covers about 85 miles - most of it by highway.
We are not doing this because there is nothing further to see in and around Belfast. There is nothing further from the truth but I assume that time is pressing and we want to be selective in what we see and where we stop. This trip will take us first of all to the Ulster American Folk Park ending up in Enniskillen and the two Loch Ernes by the evening in beautiful country Fermanagh. The map below gives you an idea of the trip - Belfast stopover just outside Omagh - final destination Enniskillen. Arriving in Omagh off the M4 keep your eyes opened for directions to the Ulster American Folk Park which is just outside the town on the main route from Omagh to Strabane. In the summer the opening times of the Park are as follows:
July to September 2009
Monday - Saturday 10.30am - 6.00pm
Sunday 11.00am - 7.00pm

Admission prices to the museum you will find here.
The museum also lists the time you need to see everything:
* Emigrants Gallery, 30 mins
* Temporary Exhibition, 30 mins
* Old World Area, 1 hour
* Ship & Dockside gallery, 30 mins link
* New World Area, 1 hour
I would really recommend taking this time. It gives you a great impression of the US immigrant Irish trail from the starvation and poverty of the potato famine, the incredible journey by boat across the North Atlantic to Ellis Island and the makings of a new life in what they called the New World. The outdoor museum has a fine collection of houses, craft shops, from both sides of the Atlantic and you really feel drawn into the whole immigrant experience. My own ancestors made this jouney themselves in 1909 - exactly one hundred years ago - which probably makes this whole experience much more personal for me.

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